Is your baby starting to show signs of food readiness, 4-6 months old, and gotten the thumbs up to try purées from their pediatrician? I can imagine how excited you are to see their reaction to new foods. Homemade baby food recipes are really easy to make and can save your family money. The best part is you can make it in large portions and freeze some so you don’t have to whip something up everyday. You will feel comfortable knowing exactly what is going into your baby’s body, especially when they’re just getting introduced to new foods. Mix up some whole food baby purées with a dash of love to help your baby grow up healthy and strong.
How Much Can you Save Making Baby Purées at Home?
According to Julia Scott at MintLife, on average you save 30 cents per a two ounce serving of non-organic homemade baby food versus store bought. If you choose the organic route, you can save 31 cents making your own homemade baby purées. If you think of the cost of a child and how much babies eat and need over the years, trust me this will add up and really help you along the way. Julia Scott gave the example of when her daughter was seven months old she was having four servings of homemade food a day; they were saving $1.20 each day and $438 a year!
How To Make Baby Purées
- Steam your vegetables and/or fruit (instead of boiling) so as many nutrients as possible stay in the food.
- Next purée them in a blender or food processor.
- Add breastmilk or water from the bottom of the boiler (it has some nutrients that escaped while steaming) to help thin out the baby purée. Add a little bit of liquid at a time; the younger your baby is the smoother the puree will need to be. As he gets older, you can make it thicker and eventually chunky (shortly before they are ready for finger foods).
- Separate the homemade baby food into 1 or 2 ounce containers. If you have made too much for your child to eat during the week, then freeze it in ice cube trays or frozen baby food trays. Cook, cool, and freeze produce right away to maintain freshness and more nutrients. You should date the containers and use fridge purees in 3 days and frozen in 3 months.
- Create blends as you learn what your child can and cannot eat due to allergies. Remember to follow your pediatrician’s guidelines for trying only one new food every 3 to 5 days. For creative ideas look at a store or online at jarred baby food concoctions. They have some fun blends such as: apple, pumpkin, carrots; banana, beets, squash, blueberries; and carrots, strawberry, chickpeas.
Homemade Baby Food Recipes
- Carrot and Peach Purée: These are two favorite early baby foods because they’re both sweet. After your child has been introduced to one of them you can introduce the other.
- Pea and Pear Purée: These two “P” foods are great to help with constipation so they are always helpful to have on hand in the freezer and mix together or in with other foods.
- Sweet Potato and Red Pepper Purée: Red pepper is a strong taste so it’s helpful to introduce it with a fan favorite: sweet potato. You can steam or roast these.
- Apple, Spinach, and Cashew Purée: Who knew that apples and spinach would taste so good together? Try it out yourself! With your pediatrician’s approval to begin introducing tree nuts, grind up some cashews into a fine powder and mix a spoonful in for added taste and protein.
- Roasted Eggplant, Red Pepper, and Vidalia Onion Purée: These all seem like adult flavors, but together they are amazing! If your baby has tried garlic before sprinkle a little bit of minced garlic when you roast the vegetables for an additional savory taste. Chop up the ingredients and roast them at 400 degrees°F for 30 minutes; don’t let them get crispy, just soft. Purée them together and serve it to your child. Adults, try it out as a dip with bread for yourself.
Homemade Baby Food Recipes Including Protein
- Boil chicken or turkey breast on the stove top and then blend it with a little water that the meat was boiled in. Start by adding just 2 Tbsps of water to the blender. Add more water to get it to the consistency that your baby is currently comfortable eating. As your baby gets more comfortable with thicker food, you can try offering small pieces of ground chicken as finger food.
- Cook and purée lentils. You can blend them with a thin, liquidy puree such as butternut squash or peach to thin it out and add additional flavor.
- Make your own brown rice cereal. Grind 1/3 cup dried brown rice into a powder using a food processor. In a sauce pan mix 1/4 cup ground rice to 2 cups of water. Bring it to boil and then simmer until all the water is absorbed. Stir the mixture often so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom; this will make 16oz of brown rice cereal. You can use breast milk instead of water if you have extra in the fridge to use up.
- Eggs are a great source of protein when your pediatrician gives approval to let your baby try them out, usually around 6 or 7 months. Hard-boil an egg and then purée it with their favorite vegetable such as avocado. Scrambled eggs are a great finger food as well.
- Whole Milk Yogurt can easily be mixed in with a fruit purée for a delicious and nutritious breakfast option. Pediatricians often say babies can have it at 6 months after trying a few other first foods.
Check out these baby cookbooks:
- Cooking for Baby, by: Lisa Barnes
- Baby & Toddler Cookbook, by: Karen Ansel & Charity Ferreira
- The Big Book of Organic Baby food, by: Stephanie Middleberg
As children begin to eat finger foods you can continue to prepare homemade meals by steaming or roasting whole foods and giving them in small pieces. Throughout the day offer protein, fruit, vegetables, grains, and dairy at different meals. Once your child has tried many different ingredients you can offer them small pieces of the meals you and your partner are eating. Cook meals that you want to eat with them! Bake white fish (after discussing seafood with their pediatrician) with some garlic and lemon juice. Have a side of green beans and voila you have a healthy meal for the whole family! Keep trying new foods every couple of days and expand your child’s palate while they are young.
If you want to learn more about how and when to feed your little one, check out our online class, Introducing Solids.
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About The Author
Kelsey Dickson has over 15 years of experience working with children as a nanny, preschool teacher, and now a mother. She has her degree in Early Childhood Education and works for Boston Baby Nurse & Nanny as the eLearning Manager. Check out our online childcare classes, such as Baby Sign Language and Sleep Coaching 101! In her free time she enjoys gardening with her son, going for walks with her husband and dog, and discovering local wineries in New England.
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